A PAIR of friends who met while working together in Rhyl are to embark on a fundraiser trek across northern Spain in aid of a St Asaph charity.

Jonathan Thomas and Mark Powell, who have known each other since their time at the Rhyl branch of Barclays Bank, will be walking 114km of the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain later this month.

The duo will start in Sarria, northern Spain on October 24, and finish in Santiago de Compostela on October 30, raising money for St Kentigern Hospice, a charity providing care and support for patients with any life-limiting condition and their families.

Jonathan and Mark have long been taking on daring challenges for numerous causes, including a 276-mile ‘A to Z’ trip of North Wales, a walk from Wrexham to Llandudno, and a 110-mile bike ride across Anglesey, but both believe this could prove their toughest yet.

Jonathan said: “I think it’s up there near the top, certainly in terms of the commitment. It’s probably rivalled only by the A to Z of North Wales. It’s up there, certainly, but it’ll be an unfamiliar environment and potentially could be quite warm, which isn’t a problem we suffer with in Wales!

“I’m feeling reasonably fit and up for the challenge, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Mark added: “Physically, walking from Wrexham to Llandudno – 21 miles for three days – almost broke me. For this one, I’m older, and I’d love to say wiser, but I’m not!

“This is going to be probably right next to the walk from Wrexham to Llandudno. Most of that walk was pretty flat and the Camino isn’t – the first day, there’s a 600m ascent above sea level, and similar the next day.

“Plus, I’ve injured my toe which requires an operation, and I’ve had to put the operation on hold until I’m back. I’ve got a feeling, except for the two shorter days, that we’re going to be walking for at least six hours a day.”

The Camino de Santiago (‘Way of St. James’) comprises a network of pilgrimages leading to the shrine of St. James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, north-west Spain, where tradition dictates that his remains are buried.

Along with Jerusalem and Rome, it is considered one of the ‘three great pilgrimages of Christendom’, and has attracted more than 200,000 pilgrims each year since 2013.

Mark, who recently completed a 706-mile bike challenge in Cheshire for Dementia UK, and is charity fundraising officer and former chairman of Barclays North and Mid Wales Welfare and Luncheon club, added: “We (Barclays) were actively encouraged to take a day out of work and go and help charities so, back in the day, we would do lots in and around Rhyl, St Asaph, Colwyn Bay, and Llandudno.

“We’ve always looked to see if we can help a charity, and for this crazy challenge, we picked St Kentigern.”

To add their total for St Kentigern, you can donate to Jonathan’s JustGiving page by visiting: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonathan-thomas21.